People urged to obtain MRP passport, avoid inconvenience

All non-machine readable passports (Non-MRP) are to be phased out globally by November 2015 in accordance with the decision of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

All handwritten passports with pasted photographs issued earlier and those with 20-year validity are considered non-MRP passports. From November 25, 2015, foreign governments may deny visa or entry to persons travelling with non-MRP passports. The Union government started issuing machine readable passports since 2001 and all new Indian passports are ICAO-compliant MRP passports.

Indian citizens residing in India and abroad and holding handwritten passports or passports of 20-year validity beyond November 24, 2015, should, therefore, apply for re-issue of passports and obtain MRP passports well before the deadline in order to avoid any inconvenience in obtaining foreign visa or immigration clearance, said K.Balamurugan, Regional Passport Officer, Tiruchi. More details can be had by visiting the website www.passportindia.gov.in or by calling the national call centre at 1800-258-1800, he added.

Mr.Balamurugan also said that certain enhancements has been made under the passport seva project such as the introduction of premium SMS service and mPassport Seva mobile application. The mPassport Seva mobile app, which provides passport related information through smart phones, is now available on Android, Windows, and Apple platforms.

The premium optional SMS service has been introduced to receive alerts and updates regarding passport applications. The service enables citizens to receive alerts and updates on the status of their passport applications. Applicants have to enrol for this service by paying a onetime enrolment charge of Rs.30.

However, the service is optional and the enrolment charge is not part of the passport fee. Applicants, once enrolled for the service, can track the status of their application by sending an SMS to 9704100100, Mr.Balamurugan said in a press release.